As we head into the colder months of the year, our skin often bears the brunt.
From dryness to chapped lips, chilly and windy weather can leave it feeling dry, dehydrated and in need of a moisture boost.
Come autumn, we’re looking to hand creams to treat an often neglected part of the body. Packed with skin-softening, soothing ingredients, we’ve been putting a number of tubes and bottles to the test to find the nourishing formulas your skin will thank you for.
From handbag essentials to bottles worth keeping by your sink, we’ve tried a range of deliciously scented and fragrance-free options that pack a punch, spanning a range of budgets to find the very best.
How we tested
We tried all of these hand creams over the course of a month and considered how fast they absorbed and how they left skin feeling after use, as well as weighing up whether it was worth indulging in a luxury brand or opting for an affordable pick.
The best hand creams for 2021 are:
- Best overall and for sensitive skin – Eucerin dry skin intensive hand cream: £6.75, Boots.com
- Best luxury hand cream – Byredo blanche hand cream: £30, Libertylondon.com
- Best for hands and cuticles – Grown Alchemist anti-bacterial hand cream: £18, Net-a-porter.com
- Best for dry skin – L’Occitane shea butter hand cream: £21.50, Loccitane.com
- Best for mature skin – Chanel le lift hand cream: £57, Chanel.com
- Best for eczema-prone skin – 79 Lux intensely restorative protective hand cream: £30, Cultbeauty.co.uk
- Best scented hand cream – Glossier hand cream: £16, Glossier.com
- Best for working hands – Nursem caring hand cream: £9.99, Boots.com
- Best budget option – The Body Shop almond milk and honey calming and protecting hand cream: £5.50, Thebodyshop.com
Eucerin dry skin intensive hand cream
Best: Overall, particularly for sensitive skin
For a budget-friendly, no-frills cream that soothes skin instantly, you can’t go wrong with a tube of this. It contains five per cent urea along with ceramides and lactate, which tackle dryness and redness that can often occur as temperature changes. It’s fragrance-free, which can be a common irritant for those with sensitive skin, and there’s no greasy feeling lingering after you’ve massaged it in. The formula is lightweight and the tube is easy to slip into your handbag for applying on the commute or at your desk.
Byredo blanche hand cream
Best: Luxury hand cream
Byredo, the luxury fragrance brand built by Swede Ben Gorham, is home to some of the most lusted after-scents. Expanding beyond just perfume however, it also offers a growing range of body care products, from body wash to lotions, housed in minimalist packaging that’s incredibly chic, albeit not for the budget-conscious. We tried its blanche hand cream in our bid to find the best, and were left impressed by the silky soft formula that left our hands feeling smooth and hydrated. Containing shea butter, it has a beautifully clean scent, thanks to notes of neroli, white rose and blonde wood. While it would make a gorgeous gift for someone, we’re reluctant to share – this 30ml tube will be staying close by in our coat pockets all winter long.
Grown Alchemist anti-bacterial hand cream
Best: For hands and cuticles
Australian skincare brand Grown Alchemist has created a lovely tube of hand cream in a slimline, but generous 65ml serving. Containing tea tree extract (which is naturally antibacterial), candeia oil and cedarwood, it’s a cocktail of ingredients that protect from germs and soften skin in need of a bit of TLC. We loved the apothecary style aluminium packaging and the texture is richer than most we tried, making it a great choice for those that have dryness as their biggest concern. Lightly scented with ylang ylang, it smells refreshing with a subtle fragrance that leaves skin feeling gorgeous.
L’Occitane shea butter hand cream
Best: For dry skin
L’Occitane uses shea butter in many of its products, but this hand cream is where it really shines. Each tube contains 20 per cent shea butter, a creamy ingredient well known for its hydrating benefits and effectiveness at combating dry skin, as well as almond, honey and coconut oil. While it takes a little longer to absorb than the other creams we tried, it doesn’t leave any greasy or oily residue. We tried the 150ml tube, a huge amount of product that has lasted us since last winter, but it’s also available in a handy 30ml tube too (£8, Loccitane.com).
Chanel le lift hand cream
Best: For mature skin
When it comes to luxury skincare, Chanel is one of the best brands to indulge in, and its pebble-shaped hand cream is as chic as it gets. Ultra decadent, but surprisingly lightweight, it’s fast absorbing with a refreshing zesty scent. It contains liquorice extract, mimosa, jojoba and sunflower waxes along with botanical alfalfa concentrate, that’s gentle but designed to brighten and firm, making it ideal for mature skin.
79 Lux intensely restorative protective hand cream
Best: For eczema-prone skin
Rich in squalane, vitamin C and rose geranium, all ingredients often found in facial skincare products, this rich hand cream is a treat for the skin. However, it goes beyond just being indulgent; it’s intensely hydrating too. It was created by health and nutrition coach, Karen Cummings-Palmer, who developed the product following her own experience with childhood eczema, with the desire to create a nourishing treatment that doesn’t scrimp on luxury. Lightly scented with rose, it comes in an elegant black tube, and leaves no sticky or greasy texture, while absorbing into skin quickly.
Glossier hand cream
Best: Scented hand cream
Only millennial beauty brand Glossier could make a hand cream this cool. The packaging reminds us of a giant pink Zippo lighter, with a click-to-close cap that works wonderfully to prevent any spillages at the bottom of your handbag. Infused with meadowfoam seed oil and coconut fruit extract, the brand describes it as “a Glossier You scent reimagined for the hands,” so if you’re already a fan of the fragrance, you’ll love this. It’s a long-lasting scent too, that we could still smell hours after being applied, a pretty impressive feat. There’s no greasy texture, just be sure not to over apply as a little goes a long way.
Nursem caring hand cream
Best: For working hands
Nusem was co-founded by Antonia Philp, a paediatric intensive care nurse who often suffered with cracked and sore hands that stemmed from continuous hand washing. Along with her husband Jonny, she tackled the problem head on by creating a hand cream, working with British nurses and laboratories over seven years, before launching the caring hand cream in 2018. The original formula (there’s also a fragrance-free option), is lovely for treating dry hands that are on the verge of pain thanks to chapped skin and eczema. The formula is rich in allantoin, pro vitamin B5, plant oils and glycerin to tackle dehydration and soothing manuka honey. We loved the slimline tube that allows a generous 75ml to fit neatly into the pocket inside our handbag, and the fast-absorbing cream is gentle and lovely to use.
The Body Shop almond milk and honey calming and protecting hand cream
Best: Budget option
You don’t need to spend a fortune to get a nicely scented hand cream that still feels luxurious. Case in point, The Body Shop, which has a large range of handbag-friendly tubes. This almond milk and honey option is lovely and lightweight, with a texture akin to a gel that sinks into skin. The scent isn’t overpowering or rich either. Made for sensitive, dry skin, it’s enriched with organic almond milk and sustainably sourced honey from Ethiopia. The 30ml size makes it perfect for on the go, as it takes up barely any room in your bag, and you don’t need much to soothe dry skin.
The verdict: Hand creams
You can’t go wrong with Eucerin’s dry skin intensive hand cream that’s basic in the best way. Budget-friendly, it’s great for sensitive skin, fast-absorbing and instantly soothing.
If you’re looking to splurge however, the Byredo blanche hand cream is hard not to love, with its clean scent that reminds us of fresh linen, and super chic packaging.
For the latest discounts on skincare and other beauty products, try the links below.
To keep your mitts clean and protected, we’ve found the best hand sanitisers to bring on the go
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.
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